Moms all across the United States may soon start to receive bundles of buds in celebration of Mother’s Day rather than the traditional bouquet of flowers.
It appears that legal weed has become a mighty temptress among the horticulture community, prompting many growers, at least those who have been a slave to the soil as their only means for generating an income, to looks towards the cannabis industry as a more profitable business venture.
According to a recent report from Fox Business, domestic flower growers could soon become few and far between in states that have legalized marijuana because cultivators are considering uprooting their flower gardens in an effort to earn more money by growing weed.
Jim McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers, told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo that although his company has spent the past decade trying to expand the domestic production of flowers, the legal cannabis industry has brought about some challenges that could become detrimental to the entire flower industry as legalization expands into more states.
“There are a few states now, I haven’t seen it impact us yet, but we are concerned because some growers with enormous greenhouse facilities in California or Colorado or perhaps in Oregon are saying, ‘Is this the best crop I can grow, these flowers for all these florists around the country? Maybe I can switch to cannabis and get 10 times on the revenue line.’ That’s a big concern of ours,” McCann said.
While the legalization of marijuana has not yet caused a severe hit to the nationwide floral market, McCann suggests that a significant number of growers all across America are prepared to jump ship on the production of tulips, lilies and roses in order to cash in on the cannabis trade. That’s a powerful statement considering the floriculture market is not exactly a lightweight earner – generating an impressive $31.3 billion in 2015.
Yet, some of the latest data indicates that even without nationwide legalization, the marijuana economy could approach $44 billion by 2020.
Although there are still plenty of states where marijuana remains part of the prohibition scheme – a factor that could, perhaps, give entrepreneurial growers in overlooked areas the opportunity to get in on the floral business – McCann says the idea of utilizing cultivation operations in other states is not necessarily the answer because the highest quality products are grown in those places that have either legalized or on the verge.
Statistics show that California is responsible for 76 percent of the flower production in the United States – a number that McCann fears could drop off significantly if voters push through a ballot measure this November aimed at legalizing marijuana for recreational use. To put the numbers in perspective, Washington is the second largest state in regards to the nation’s floral production, and it only consists of 6 percent of the market.
So, what are the chances 1-800-Flowers will simply opt to throw in the towel in the next few years and explore the cannabis field? It’s not likely, says McCann.
“We’re more for rose production than we are for cannabis production,” he said.
photo illustration via Emil Lindof/The Daily Beast